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House rewrites bills to address DPS bankruptcy

Posted: 6:32 PM, Jun 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-01 22:32:26Z

There is a battle playing out between the Michigan Senate and House over how to make sure Detroit Public Schools doesn’t go into bankruptcy.

You may remember the Senate in March passed bills that would provide Detroit Public Schools about $700 million to address debt and restructure into a new district.

The House never moved on them.

The House then in May passed its own legislation worth just over $500 million. The legislation also threw out some union contracts, allowed uncertified teachers to work in Detroit, and delayed electing a school board.

The Senate refused to act on the House bills. So, on June 1, the House pulled their legislation out of the Senate, and went to work rewriting it.

7 Action News obtained a document that lays out the changes in the tentative new House plan. 

The new legislation kept some aspects of both previous plans in the House and Senate. It would split Detroit Public Schools into two districts. One would exist to pay off the existing debt. The other would exist to educate kids. It would pay off the district’s estimated $467 million in operating debt with Tobacco Settlement funds.

There are also a lot of changes.

The Senate plan would provide $200 million in loans for the new district to use to restructure. The original House plan provided $33 million. The new plan would provide about $150 million.

The Senate plan schedules a school board election for August 2016.  The original House plan would hold the election in August 2017. The new House plan would hold an election in November 2016.

The Senate plan created a Detroit Education Commission to regulate the opening of schools in the city. The original House plan did not address that. The new House plan would create an advisory board to weigh in on the opening of schools in the city.

The Senate plan did not permit uncertified teachers in Detroit’s new school district. The original and new House plan would.

The original and new House plan also would add penalties should teachers strike, requires merit pay, and prohibits the district from paying for school personnel to travel out of state, unless approved by a financial review commission.

The House could vote on the new plan as soon as June 2, or early next week.  It would still have to be approved by the Senate.